Pickens County Promotes Public Service

    Pickens County Promotes Public Service

    In a Council visioning session, Pickens County’s six Council Members outlined the overarching goals to direct county operations. One of those goals is to promote a culture of public service. This has since been an important overarching theme for our county operations and has led to new initiatives to bring new public servants on board, invest in our current employees, and give back to the community through volunteer opportunities. 

    Pickens County Promotes Public Service

    Recognizing the importance of providing efficient medical and fire services to our citizens, the Fire Service and EMS departments have been top priorities for County Council this budget year.

    To best provide these essential services, new positions have been created for FY 2023 and Pickens County is actively “Hiring Heroes!” With a focus on the unique opportunities provided to first responders in Pickens County, such as the specialized training offered to provide services in our county’s range of natural features from lakes to mountains, new EMS personnel and fire service personnel are joining the team each week until the all new positions are filled.

    These first responders are truly community heroes answering calls around the clock to serve our communities. 

    Leadership Enhancement Academy for Public Servants

    In addition to adding to our number of public servants, Pickens County is also investing in the continuing education of our current employees.

    This summer, the Leadership Enhancement Academy for Public Servants (LEAPS), a program designed to help aspiring leaders in public service develop a road map for success, offered opportunities to hone leadership skills and build relationships with coworkers over the span of seven weeks.

    The inaugural class of 20 participants representing 15 different county departments learned from both industry professionals and leaders outside of county government. 

    Weekly discussions allowed participants to get to know colleagues in other departments and expand their professional network. 

    Each participant was paired with a mentor who graduated from the NACo Leadership Academy for optimum leadership growth. Many participants found the information provided informative and the opportunity to get to know colleagues both personally enjoyable and professionally beneficial. Already, the connections made during the course have facilitated opportunities to collaborate and better serve our citizens.

    Public Employee Service Corps

    The idea of public service does not end when Pickens County employees leave the office or work site. In fact, many of our employees actively volunteer in our community.

    Now, thanks to a new collaborative program with the United Way of Pickens County, the Public Employee Service Corps (PESC) allows our county staff a mechanism to volunteer their time after business hours to continue to serve the community. It has also facilitated additional relationship-building opportunities between county staff from a wide variety of departments. Since PESC was established this summer, many employees have volunteered their time as reading buddies for United Way’s Camp iRock, stuffed backpacks with school supplies, and offered outdoor trash and debris removal for medically fragile adults.

    The trash and debris removal project arose from a code complaint received by our County’s Environmental Enforcement department. Rather than continue to fine the homeowners for code violations that were clearly beyond their ability to address, the PESC scheduled days and times for volunteers to lend a helping hand to their neighbors. As additional opportunities for service arise, the PESC volunteers will continue to answer the call. 


    Through this focus on public service, Pickens County strives to provide effective essential services with the right attitude. Rather than waiting for someone else to come along and fill the gap, our county staff consistently rises to the occasion. As our County Administrator, Ken Roper, often quotes,

    “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”

    We are public servants. Whether the job is to respond to an emergency, encourage colleagues as they grow into their leadership potential, or volunteer to meet a need in the community, we feel the call to be everyday heroes and answer that call wholeheartedly. 

    United Way of Pickens County: Your Local Resource

    United Way of Pickens County: Your Local Resource

    United Way of Pickens County: Your Local Resource

    United Way of Pickens County’s mission is to mobilize the caring power of Pickens County to improve communities and individual lives in measurable and lasting ways.

    We partner with people and organizations from all across the community to fight for the education, financial stability, and basic needs of every person in Pickens County, because we believe that these are the building blocks for a good quality of life. 

    Employee Support

    If you have employees needing assistance, we’re here to help!

    Through United Way, residents in Pickens County have access to resources like 2-1-1, the Tough Times Toolkit, financial coaching, and more. 2-1-1 is a hotline that connects individuals to an operator who can provide free and confidential information on local resources for food, housing, employment, health care counseling, and more. Simply dial 2-1-1 (or 1-866-892-9211).

    The Tough Times Toolkit is also a great resource for individuals seeking assistance. It can be downloaded here and contains information on community resources, such as food pantries, legal services, utility assistance, education services, and transportation.

    Last, United Way of Pickens County offers free financial coaching. Coaching topics include budgeting and saving, credit reports, goal setting, understanding banks and credit unions, reducing debt, and more. If you know someone who may be interested in our financial coaching programs, please click here to complete an interest form or contact Teresa Nash at tnash@uwpickens.org or 864-850-7094 x106. For additional information about these resources and other resources that are available through United Way of Pickens County, click here.

    United Way of Pickens County: Your Local Resource

    Get Involved 

    Is your company looking for ways to get involved in the community, engage your employees, and achieve your philanthropic or corporate social responsibility goals?  Workplace campaigns and corporate sponsorships are a great way to do that! Running a United Way employee giving campaign within your place of business creates terrific opportunities, not only for our community but for your employees, as well. It gives your organization a common purpose, builds morale, promotes teamwork, and demonstrates your commitment to improving lives. To learn more about workplace campaigns or to discuss our customizable corporate sponsorship packages, contact Lyndy Schonhar at lschonhar@uwpickens.org or 864-850-7094 x100.

    If you’d like to find out more information about United Way and our initiatives and opportunities, or if you’d like to give, go to www.uwpickens.org or contact Lyndy Schonhar.

    Celebrating the Vital Role of Health Centers in Improving the Health of Our Communities 

    Celebrating the Vital Role of Health Centers in Improving the Health of Our Communities 

    By Regina M. Mitchell, MHA, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Horizon Family Health Services, Inc.

    Next week, health centers across the country will observe National Health Center Week to recognize the vital role that our organizations play in providing health care access to our communities. As the nation’s largest primary care provider, health centers are the safety net for nearly 30 million people offering comprehensive primary care to individuals regardless of their insurance status. 

    8.4 Newsletter New Horizons Photo

    New Horizon History

    Established in 1992 with a small team of health professionals providing services to about 2,500 patients, New Horizon Family Health Services (NHFHS) now serves nearly 23,000 patients each year and operates medical offices in Greenville, Greer and Travelers Rest; a dental office in Greenville; two mobile medical units and a mobile dental unit. 

    NHFHS’ Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) Program provides primary medical, dental and behavioral health services and prescription medications to nearly 3,600 individuals experiencing homelessness in 13 Upstate counties each year. 

    In 2019, NHFHS and Miracle Hill Ministries partnered to open South Carolina’s first-ever in-shelter Medical Respite Care Program inside the Greenville Rescue Mission, an emergency shelter for men, to provide a safe place for those experiencing homelessness to rest, recover and receive medical support after discharge from the hospital. This year, the partnership was expanded to also serve women at Miracle Hill Ministries’ Shepherd’s Gate, a safe shelter for women and mothers with young children experiencing homelessness. 

    Our Ryan White Program provides primary and HIV specialty medical care, medical case management, prescription assistance, behavioral health counseling and HIV prevention services to over 1,200 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in 10 Upstate counties each year. 

    While our organization has grown over the years, our mission remains the same — to provide quality, affordable, compassionate patient-centered health care to improve the health of the communities we serve. 

    Our multi-disciplinary team of health care professionals includes physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical counselors, nurse educators, outreach specialists, care advocates and pharmacists providing a broad array of primary and preventative care.

    New Horizons

    Community-oriented Approach 

    Using a community-oriented approach, NHFHS offers a comprehensive and integrated set of services to some of the most vulnerable in our community, reducing the need for more costly forms of care, such as hospitalizations and emergency department visits. 

    Patients can receive services including primary medical care, preventative care, dental care, health education, assistance with management of chronic medical conditions, behavioral health services, nutrition counseling and access to affordable prescriptions– all in one location.

    More than 45% of our organization’s patients are uninsured.  Many struggle with social, economic or environmental factors that create barriers to health care access. NHFHS’ Care Management Team helps patients overcome medical and non-medical issues adversely affecting their health such as lack of health insurance, transportation challenges, inadequate housing and food insecurity. Patients are connected with other community organizations for resources to enhance their health and well-being. 

    We often hear from patients that it is our team’s patient-centered and compassionate approach that makes a difference. Patients get better, feel better and live happier lives as a result of the care they receive.  

    New Horizons

    National Health Center Week

    Next week, as we recognize the role of health centers in improving the health of our communities, I encourage you to make your own health a priority. Below are 5 ways that you can celebrate National Health Center Week: 

    1. Schedule Your Next Primary Care or Dental Appointment.
      •   Routine check-ups are important and can help detect health problems early when they may be easier to treat. Take the time to schedule your next primary care or dental appointment.
    1. Get Vaccinated or Boosted for COVID-19.
      •   NHFHS’ medical offices offer the Moderna vaccine and booster to all eligible individuals in our community Monday-Friday from 8 am – 3:30 pm — no appointment needed.
    1. Sign Up as a Health Center Advocate.
      •   Support the work of health centers by signing up as a Health Center Advocate at www.hcadvocacy.org/join and make your voice heard about important issues impacting health centers.
    1. Get Screened for HIV.
      •   NHFHS’ Ryan White Program team offers free HIV screening with no appointment at our 975 W. Faris Road office in Greenville Monday-Friday from 9 am – 4 pm.
    1. Subscribe to Our Newsletter. 

    To learn more about National Health Center Week and the work of NHFHS, visit our website at www.newhorizonfhs.org

    Simpsonville Arts Center is the Newest Upstate Gem

    Simpsonville Arts Center is the Newest Upstate Gem

    From the long-ago days of reading and recess to today’s activities of performers and painters, the Simpsonville Arts Center is the newest gem of the Upstate.

    Built in 1939, the building on 110 Academy Street that once housed the former Simpsonville Elementary School has both kept all the charm of its history while having new life breathed into it during a recent renovation. Added to that charm are a brand-new performing arts auditorium complete with a state of the art high-tech audio-visual system, generous lobby featuring 9 gallery areas to exhibit art, large box office and a concessions area.

    On top of all that the updated auditorium offers, the Arts Center also boasts six classrooms at about 600 sq. ft. each with multiple large windows that allow natural light to fill the space. Original hardwood floors, high ceilings and wainscoting add to the magic of the rooms, which are available for monthly rental to visual and performing artists.

    At the other end of the building is the old gymnasium, which is undergoing renovations to become a premier event space. With the new HVAC system to be installed, the original wood bleachers from the 1930s, the wood slatted ceiling and the beautiful wood floors, this will be the perfect spot for that special event: wedding receptions, fundraising, auctions, family reunions and large group gatherings – all for the public to use! Rental packages for use of the classrooms, auditorium and entire Arts Center are currently being developed so stay tuned!

    As part of the Simpsonville Arts Center’s commitment to bringing quality performing arts to the area, the Mill Town Players, a community theatre recognized for its quality productions at affordable prices, is the company in residence at the Arts Center. With their original location in the Historic Pelzer Auditorium, Simpsonville is the second location for the community theatre.

    The slate of shows for the Inaugural Season at the Arts Center is impressive with the first production opening July 22nd – the epic musical “Children of Eden.”

    Other shows in the season include “Honk the Musical,” “The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “The Miracle Worker.”

    For ticket information, call 864-947-8000.

    If you would like to know more about the Simpsonville Arts Center or are interested in renting a classroom, please contact Melissa Sturgis at msturgis@simpsonville.com

    Young-Afro Excellence: Bringing Excellence to the Next Generation

    Young-Afro Excellence: Bringing Excellence to the Next Generation

    Young Afro-Excellence, known as Gene-Xcellence, is a 501(3) nonprofit established in 2020 by Greenville natives and college students, DeAsia Danladi and Tailor Pickens. 

    Our mission is to provide the youth, ages 12-24, the guide to reach its fullest potential through any adversity they may face.

    As an organization, our goal is to break generational curses by building economic mobility for the next generation. To reach this goal, we provide business grants, scholarships, mentorship programs and materials for success.

    Our mentorship program consists of various life-based skill classes such as career development, mental health, and financial literacy. We also conduct workshops, community outreach activities, and educational outings. Our workshops are age appropriate. In addition, individual success planning will be offered. Students ages 16 and older will receive a personalized career plan and personal budget.


    Orientation for our Lady Excellence mentorship program is on August 28th, from 3-6 PM. We advise anyone who is interested in joining our mentorship program to visit our website for more information
    at https://youngafroexcellence.org/lady-excellence.

    We are always in need for volunteers for our mentorship program, community outreach, and annual events. If interested in becoming a volunteer, please visit  https://youngafroexcellence.org/volunteer.

    For more information on Young Afro-Excellence, please visit our website at
    https://youngafroexcellence.org/ .